It isn’t panic stations just yet, but the away defeat to Bristol City has to be marked down as an alarming result.
Alarming because although we are still a work in progress, there has now been a number of changes in personnel. These new faces have shown enough to suggest that they should be doing far better than the showing Saturday afternoon.
Yes, they need time to gel, and again, this will require time, but the similarity to many of last seasons capitulations was startling.
As with most Villa results, it can be a bit of a puzzle. We have now recruited leaders. Elphick, McCormack & Jedinak all captained their former clubs, the latter even at international level. The leadership wasn’t notable or apparent at Ashton Gate.
The creeping worry, even at this early juncture of the season, is that Villa are making repeated mistakes. This was our undoing last term, ‘recurring errors’, that were’t learned from and were repeated week on week.
Gollini, who could easily find himself as an unfortunate scapegoat, should certainly have done better, particularly for the 2nd, palming cheaply to gift away the lead. The young Italian cuts an exposed figure between the sticks, with at least three memorable errors from five games which have lead directly to goals.
Equally we are seeing contrasting first and second halves as a matter of routine. This is the theme of our our opening season form to be found on the tip of most supporters tongues.
Whilst it’s understandable that our intensity may lessen as the game progresses, how can it be that we so badly lose our way after the interval? Villa seem to have a potent Plan A, but Plan B, doesn’t appear to have yet been devised.
Our strikers must also shoulder some blame. Once again Villa went in at half time ahead, but wasted glorious chances to end the tie comprehensively over 45 minutes. It was our undoing against Huddersfield, limited us to a draw at Derby and left us vulnerable at Bristol City.
One look no further than our hosts clinical finishing and their determination to close out the match. When City smelled blood, they took full advantage. A trait we could do well to copy.
After only five games, we are left to ponder what might have been. Hardly a situation we would want to continue as the games begin the stack up. This is a season of transition, certainly, but we have the opportunity to make much more of it.
Indeed, we now have the opportunity to fix obvious deficiencies in the squad before the transfer deadline.
The Villa Underground has spoken since the close season about the need for more pace, an experienced goalkeeper and another goal threat. Injury to Gestede & Ayew’s departure to the African Cup of nations being reason alone.
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